To comply with the compulsory education laws in our state, homeschoolers have to provide proof of progress at the end of each school year. In our state, commonwealth really, parents can show academic progress with either standardized testing or a letter of evaluation. Most people test.
We've already completed our testing for the year. Since Chris is in third grade, at least as it concerns the county, this was our third year of testing. Each year we've used BJU Press, well-known for it's distance learning homeschool curricula, for the needed resources.
We use the Stanford test and added the OLSAT this year. My husband or I administer the tests at home or at a quiet playground or at the library. The requirements to become an administrator are easily met if you have a Bachelor's degree. Alternatively, you can search for available administrators in your area on the site. The county does offer testing dates for homeschoolers, free of charge, but we simply prefer to test at home.
Each year we've used BJU Press for the needed standardized testing resources.
When purchasing testing materials, you are asked to provide a testing date. Your tests will then be sent to you within a couple weeks of the date you've chosen, and your return-by date will be related to your scheduled testing date. Not everyone uses the practice tests. They are an extra expense, but we've found them helpful -- especially since we don't do much testing normally. The practice tests are yours to keep, but the materials for the full test must be returned to BJU after testing is completed. The teacher's booklets are only rented by you and are reused by BJU. The student booklets are sent back for results.
The test results are posted in PDF to your online account, from which you can download, print, share, or do whatever you want to do with them. You have access to the scores for 6 months. To understand the results, I recommend their Guidelines for Test Interpretation PDF. I couldn't do much with some of the numbers, such as ST9, without the guide.
The results haven't changed our homeschool schedules or plans at all. The kids usually perform well, even in science which we don't formally study yet. Some of their math scores end up being below average, but that is because the sequence of Math-U-See doesn't always line up with the national norm. There's no reason to be alarmed at that.
The first year we tested, when Chris was in first grade, my husband took over all of the testing responsibilities. He erroneously thought that they had to complete the full battery in one day, so he and Chris spent the whole day together chugging through that test.
It went on and on as he still recalls, but he actually had a fun, special day hanging out with Daddy and getting fun snacks. Still, we never did the marathon day again and have since spread the test out to three days. It's still a fun break though.
Testing two grade levels was a new challenge this year. Chris and Charlotte could not be tested simultaneously, so I worked with one then the other throughout each of the testing days. Maintaining a quiet, test-conducive environment for the entirety of the double testing time was tough. Actually, it was so tough, it didn't happen. Things were generally quiet and calm, but even when it wasn't we still pushed through. That's how we do everything.